~from the Office of Neighborhoods


Do you have a problem you haven’t addressed with a neighbor? Are you active in a neighborhood association and see a need for help with an internal or external problem? Do you have a problem with a neighboring business, such as lights, noise, or parking?


Why not try mediation! Handling such disputes can be tricky, but the mediation room is a good place to start working toward agreement. Mediation is a positive, private way for individuals and groups to resolve conflicts, improve communication, and encourage a calm and peaceful resolution to existing conflict. Mediation is voluntary and confidential, and those in mediation “leave no trace” if there is no agreement. Mediation can be particularly beneficial for individuals and groups, like neighborhoods, when ongoing relationships are important and ignoring the problem is just not working.


With many courts and organizations closed or practicing social distancing, it is more challenging than ever to find efficient and timely ways to resolve disputes. However, to take advantage of this time, the Community Mediation Center (CMC), a local non-profit organization serving residents in Knox County for over 25 years, is offering free online mediation options to address neighborhood-related disputes in Knoxville.


In addition, CMC is offering a 1-hour online orientation group session (using Zoom Meetings) for any neighborhood organization that wants to learn more about available mediation services. This orientation will include an introduction to mediation—what it is, and what it isn’t–, the benefits of mediation, what happens when an agreement is reached and what happens when an agreement isn’t reached, as well as guidance for boards on making appropriate mediation referrals.


If you are an individual living in a neighborhood who would like to request an online mediate with someone, or if you are an active member or board member of a neighborhood organization and would like to schedule an online orientation for your board, contact the CMC training director, Jen Comiskey, at cmctraining@2mediate.org.


Take the opportunity to learn about mediation, see if it is a possible solution for your neighborhood, and resolve issues before we are social again.